Since the publication of the Office of Health Economics’ first booklet on epilepsy in 1971, advances in medical treatment, better seizure control and wider availability of appropriate information and counselling opportunities are making it somewhat easier for people with epilepsy to adjust to the condition and integrate fully into society. However, the quality of medical care varies, as does the availability of information and counselling support and thus for many people epilepsy continues to be a distressing condition to accept and live with.

Prejudice against epilepsy and the person with epilepsy, though it appears to be lessening, still exists. The only effective way of overcoming this prejudice and ignorance is through publicity and education. It is hoped that this paper will contribute to a greater understanding by both the public and health care professionals of the nature and causes of epilepsy and a greater awareness of the problems encountered by people with the condition. It is important for those who do not suffer from epilepsy to realise the extent of the problem, in order that those with epilepsy have an opportunity to lead a better and fuller life in the future.